Today was a good day!  Yesterday I had my psychiatric assessment and was told that due to lack of resources, I would wait 3 months for group therapy and psychological services in Falkirk, has an eleven-month waiting list. 

On average, 2 people die each day from suicide in Scotland and around 70% of those are known to mental health services in the year prior to death, according to (ref 1). 

Going on the rate of deteriation to my mental health, I’m sure as hell not waiting for professional help to get better!  No way … I value my life too much! 

I have no control over waiting times or a faulty ‘system’, so instead I shall focus on the things I do have control over … like getting my body and mind ‘fit’ and becoming knowledgeable and gaining understanding of the subject.

I remain mindful, to only introduce a couple of new habits into my life at a time.  If I attempt to create many new habits all at the one time, the likelihood of long term sustained change diminishes.  This I know from personal experience, but also from the life coaching part of the 2-year Holistic Therapies and Stress Management college course I did many years ago.   

I know that cycling will improve my mental health.  It’s scientifically proven.  Cycling is a powerful anti-depressant, and you can pedal your way to an abundance of serotonin, dopamine, endorphins and cannabinoids.

So, the first step in my action plan is to find a local cycling club.  I’d thought about cycling with a club many times, since I moved into my home, but I just couldn’t be bothered to get up and go.  Now my mental health depended on it. 

So today I went along to Stirling Bike Club’s 30-mile development ride, one of many rides departing from the Peak Sports Centre on a Saturday morning.  I was a tad nervous, as I didn’t know if I’d be able to keep up.  I know that sounds strange, giving all the cycling I’ve done, but I’ve been cycling on my own (or with dogs!) since 2014, and I don’t measure how fast I cycle.  But the Development Ride’s rule that no-one is left behind, took my fears away.

I loved my morning cycling with Stirling Bike Club.  Everyone was so friendly and welcoming, and I was amazed at just how many women were out!  As soon, as I got home, before I even had my bath, I had officially joined the club!   

Riding with a bike club gives my cycling structure, which seems to bypass my lack of motivation to get out and ride my bike.  I’ve got a habit of isolating myself (and then feeling lonely lol!) when I’m not doing so great.  Cycling with a club gets me healthier, happier and reconnected to the community.  The way I see it, if I’m only making a couple of positive changes at a time, I might as well try to tick as many good affects as possible with each change I make. 

The second positive change I am introducing into my life, is to read books on mental health, written by those who are seen as experts and recommended to me from journalists and readers of my blog.  If you have any recommendations, please post a reply to this post publicly or use the website’s contact form in private.  Already this is helping me tremendously – to feel secure about taking control back from the helplessness that waiting times present.

You can find out more about Stirling Bike Club’s rides here. I’m going out with the development ride again this Saturday 30th March, if anyone in Stirling, Falkirk or Clackmannanshire has fancied trying out a bike club but hasn’t yet – perhaps you’d like to come along too 🙂

Ishbel xxx

(ref 1)